The Return of The Native: Book 2, Chapter 4 - Summary & Analysis

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CHAPTER IV: Eustacia is Led onto an Adventure


The Mummer's Rehearsal

      On the fifth day (23rd December), Eustacia was approached by few persons who had come to take her permission to rehearse a play in her fuel-house. It was the well-known play of Saint George and though Eustacia had great disrespect for mummers, she allowed them to rehearse there.

Eustacia's Adventurous Plan

      Some of the rustics were attending the rehearsal in the fuel-house. Eustacia over-heard their conversation and learned that the play would be enacted as a part of Christmas celebrations at Mrs. Yeobright's house in honor of her son. Suddenly, Eustacia had a plan in her mind. She called Charley, who was to play the part of the Turkish Knight in the play and promised him five shillings if he would let her disguise herself as a boy and take his place in the performance of the play. But Charley refused to take money and instead wanted to hold her hand for half an hour and kiss it. Eustacia agreed to his proposal and increased the time by fifteen more minutes asking him not to tell anybody outside about her disguise. She had planned it in this way, because this would serve her purpose to be able to go to Mrs. Yeobright's house and have a close look at Clym.

Critical Analysis

      This chapter once again focuses on the character of Eustacia. This chapter shows her recklessness in behavior under the stress of her passion. According to Hardy, Eustacia's passion is massive rather than vivacious.

      A touch of humor is also seen in this chapter when Charley refuses the money and wants to just hold her hand.

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